""It's quite clear whole countries could literally disappear under rising sea levels in the next decade; it's the pointy end of climate change, and it's happening in our region," Mr Albanese said."
Let's see, how many seconds does it take to google "sea level rises Pacific", and to reveal some interesting facts:
In 2000, the BBC reported:
"Ahead of this week's global warming conference in The Hague, Pacific nations were told about the results of a scientific reassessment of historical tide-gauge data in their region.
The study found that Pacific-wide sea levels had risen at an average rate of about 0.8 millimeters per year. The trend was measured using only those recording stations with hourly data stretching back more than 25 years.
Dr Wolfgang Scherer, director of the National Tidal Facility (NTF) of Flinders University, South Australia, which undertook the review, told BBC News Online that the much larger increases in global sea level predicted by some climate models were not apparent in their regional data.
"There is no acceleration in sea level rise - none that we can discern, at all," he said."This would suggest that within a decade, the sea level might rise by 8 mm. Ok, let's be generous, and allow 12 mm, or half an inch. (Or let's go the whole hog and allow for nearly an inch.) If that's enough to sink an island, I would think that they must already use boats instead of cars most days of the year.
So where does the hysteria about Tuvalu sinking some from? Try this article (which also shows that for some recent years, the sea level around the island nation actually dropped!):
"Tuvalu's 10,500 people live on nine tiny atolls. They are densely packed; 403 people per square kilometer; Australia has 2.4, New Zealand just under one. Kiribati has 111 people per square kilometer....
Scherer says data from Funafuti shows no evidence of sea level rise. 'As at June 2001, based on the short-term sea level rise analyses ... for the eight years of data return show a rate of 0.0 mm per year, i.e. no change in average sea level over the period of record.'
They found a major anomaly in 1998, an El Nino year, when sea levels actually fell by 35 centimeters (14 inches). The monitoring project will next year install satellite monitoring equipment that will determine whether the atolls themselves, as distinct from the sea, rise and fall....The historical record, both recent and pre-historic, shows storm surges, which bring the sea across the land, destroying gardens, have long been a fact of life. In places like Kiribati and Majuro, for example, the highest point above sea level is on bridges 11 feet and 20 feet high, respectively; virtually everyone lives about five feet above sea level.
'That is the over-riding psychology behind it,' Scherer says, adding that population pressures are aiding the political drive to move people to Australia and New Zealand. 'Sea levels have been rising since the last ice age.'"
Of course, to the Green movement, any problem with low lying islands is (at least implicitly) the fault of the industrialised West. See this from the Green Left Weekly of barely a month ago:"On November 24, plans were put in place to evacuate the 980 people living on the six Carteret atolls, after they battled for decades with the effects of climate change. The Papua New Guinean government will move 10 families at a time to Bougainville, 100 kilometres away. Within two years the Carterets will be uninhabitable, and they are likely to be completely submerged by 2015. "
Clearly, it is utter rubbish to suggest that islands currently facing problems with the sea level are in trouble because of rises that have occurred in recent years. Indeed, Anthony Albanese's claim that countries could disappear within the next decade is also bilge, but he obviously doesn't bother checking things himself.
So even if you fear that the Liberal government's Ian Campbell has become too much of a captive of the global warming crowd, at least he is still ahead in the common sense game:
"Responding to Labor's calls for the Government to accept environmental refugees from the Pacific whose countries were flooded as a result of climate change, the Minister for the Environment, Ian Campbell, branded the suggestion absurd."
Of course, the fact that a significant percentage of the population probably does believe that islands are already in trouble from global warming is also caused by the media being happy to uncritically report such press releases (and only follow with a denial from the other side the next day, after some mud has no doubt already stuck in impressionable minds.) The media's performance in this area is pathetic.
UPDATE: It gets worse. Albanese slags off at the government's response as follows:
" 'Climate change is real and it's hurting our Pacific neighbours now," Mr Albanese said.
"PNG citizens on the Carteret Islands have become the world's first climate change refugees.
"Tuvalu is expected to be uninhabitable because of rising seas levels over the coming decade."
He said Tuvalu had twice called for help from the federal government and been twice rejected....
Greens leader Bob Brown said Senator Campbell was ignoring the evidence about rising sea levels as a result of human induced global warming.
"The minister's claim that there is no evidence to suggest that Pacific island populations are in any imminent danger of being displaced by rising sea levels is absurd," he said.
"The threat is real and imminent.""Bob, Anthony: you seem to picking one area of the global warming debate where the current effect (namely, next to nil) is actually clear and entirely measureable. Where is the evidence for the disaster for Tuvalu within a decade??
UPDATE 2: From Wikipedia:
"To date, sea level changes have not been implicated in any substantial environmental, humanitarian, or economic losses. Previous claims have been made that parts of the island nations of Tuvalu was "sinking" as a result of sea level rise. However, subsequent reviews have suggested that the loss of land area was the result of erosion during and following the actions of 1997 cyclones Gavin, Hina, and Keli.   The islands in questions were not populated. Reuters has reported other Pacific islands are facing a severe risk including Tegua island in Vanuatu, data shows no net sea level rise. According to Patrick J. Michaels, "In fact, areas to the west such as [the island of] Tuvalu show substantial declines in sea level over that period.""